Vanuatu

Rodents are a key pest to agricultural and rural island communities of the South Pacific, but there is limited information of their impact on the crops and livelihoods of small-scale farmers.

The Restoration of Ecosystem Services and Adaptation to Climate Change (RESCCUE) project is a regional project implemented by the Pacific Community. The overall goal of RESCCUE is to contribute to increasing the resilience of Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) in the context of global changes. To this end RESCCUE aims at supporting adaptation to climate change (ACC) through integrated coastal management (ICM), resorting especially to economic analysis and economic and financial mechanisms.

Rodents are a key pest to agricultural and rural island communities of the South Pacific, but there is limited information of their impact on the crops and livelihoods of small-scale farmers. The rodent pest community is known, but the type and scales of damage to different crops on different islands are unknown. Knowledge about rodent pest management in other geographical regions may not be directly transferable to the Pacific region. Many studies on islands have largely focussed on the eradication of rodents from uninhabited islands for conservation benefits.

Vanuatu is made of a group of 80 rugged, volcanic islands which have been pushed up from the edge of the Pacific Rim.

The Pacific islands of Oceania cover almost 15% of the world's surface and are characterised by a high degree of ecosystem and species diversity. The region is characterised by thousands of isolated small coral atolls and higher volcanic islands, which has led to the high diversity of species found today. In fact, the number of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth (endemic species) is extremely high - often up to 90% for particular groups. Often, these rare and endemic species are adapted to specialised habitats and limited to small areas of a few islands.

It may be possible to tell that a species is likely to be invasive, for example because it has been a problem elsewhere. However it will be difficult to say with certainty that a

Early settlers brought in animals (e.g. cattle, pigs, goats, cats, chickens and dogs) for food, pets and hunters for their survivals. Some of the animals were not well managed that they become wild (feral) and become problems. Feral pigs, cattle, goats tramp and graze on forest plants and garden crops that may result in desertification in some areas. Their manure deposits in water cause algal growth that makes water bodies look dirty. Feral and domesticated cats and dogs kill native birds, reptiles and insects, which leads to great loss of native wild life throughout the islands.

Vanuatu is a Y-shaped archipelago located in the Southwest Pacific Ocean at 13-20o S, 166o – 172o E. There is a distance of roughly 1,300 km from northernmost island to the southernmost. The country’s coastline extends for 2,528 km long and comprises over 80 islands with a total land area of 12,336 km2 , set within a 200- mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of approximately 680,000Km2 . Vanuatu’s islands are geologically young and were formed during the four main volcanic activity periods.